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Saving Seeds: Extra seed containers

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Scallionboy
New York, NY

December 8, 2007
5:18 PM

Post #4274695

I'm starting to do a little apartment gardening. When I buy seeds, no matter how small a packet, I have more than I need. So if I plant a half-dozen seeds, assuming that I'll get a couple of healthy plants, (a) how do I determine how long they will remain viable and (b) where should I keep them and (c) in what kind of container (little envelope, small pill vial, etc.)

Many thanks,
Bill
rebecca30
Cary, NC
(Zone 7b)

December 9, 2007
5:48 AM

Post #4276560

I keep my seeds in this:

Small baggies - bought at Michael's Craftstore
Business Card holder- bought at Staples

Hope that helps. :o)

Thumbnail by rebecca30
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rebecca30
Cary, NC
(Zone 7b)

December 9, 2007
5:49 AM

Post #4276561

pic2 My garden notebook to record the year's progress and store my seeds easier in the front.

This message was edited Dec 9, 2007 12:51 AM

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Scallionboy
New York, NY

December 9, 2007
12:56 PM

Post #4276880

That's great. Looks really organized.

I guess the important thing is that the seeds are kept dry, right?

I haven't been in Fuquay-Varina in decades, since I went to visit a buddy whose family lived in Goldsboro.
rebecca30
Cary, NC
(Zone 7b)

December 10, 2007
12:53 AM

Post #4278779

Yep, keep them dry is the most important thing.

FV has grown quite a bit. But to me it's still a small town. :o))

r30
dylancgc
Mount Vernon, MO
(Zone 6b)

December 20, 2007
2:33 PM

Post #4313135

Rebecca - That is a great idea. I just have mine filed alphabetically in a plastic thing but if the dogs step in it or the cat lays on it then I have to refile. I'm going into Springfield today and I believe a stop at Staples or Office Depot will be on my to do list.
sowmo
Southern, CA
(Zone 8b)

December 26, 2007
12:28 AM

Post #4326836

I keep my seeds in old unused prescription containers, and just label them
annie_appleseed
Pleasant Hill, CA

March 11, 2008
3:13 AM

Post #4649080

We sort our dried seeds in different bags and others inside paper envelopes inside a photo box.

They are sorted alphabetically for quick reference. Hope this helps.

Here is a great way to REUSE all those darned payment envelopes that come in your autopayment statements and junk mailers sent with return (occasionally prepaid) envelopes. We label and store seeds inside the junk mail envelopes that would otherwise have to be thrown away when opening bills each month.

We have also sent back credit card applications inside their own mailing envelopes and asked to be taken off their mailing lists along with other junk mail with mailers. That way the junk mailers pay postage when being asked to remove us from there lists. I know that isn't a gardening tip, but it is our attempt at saving trees.
VeraJo
Wheeling, WV
(Zone 6b)

March 25, 2008
11:46 PM

Post #4709317

I keep my seeds in old unused prescription containers, and just label them

I've done this and my seeds have gotten molded. What do you think I did wrong?o
Illoquin
Indianapolis, IN
(Zone 5b)

March 26, 2008
8:10 PM

Post #4712899

I am starting to keep mine in the refrigerator. I put the whole commercial envelope in a see-thru ziploc sandwich bag and then they all get filed and refrigerated.

The reason for this is that seed I got from Swallowtail seeds said to do this, but the real proof was a bunch of old seed (2002 and some older) I got from Weezingreens. It ALL germinated and I know she reliably keeps her whole seed tote in the refrigerator.

Suzy

beebonnet

beebonnet
Coos Bay, OR
(Zone 9a)

March 27, 2008
12:39 AM

Post #4713998

I keep mine in a large (bread size) tupperware container that I bought at a garage sale. Then, I add any of those little capsules from shoes or other things that come from the Orient. (what doesn't?) Because they have silica gel in them which keeps things dry---right?? Then, I put the entire tupperware container in the garage fridge, much to the chagrin of my DH because he likes to store cheese and OJ and cheese and wine and cheese... I have germinated seeds from years back with this method. I keep like seeds together with a rubber band and I try to always date on the package the last time I planted these seeds. It's just kind of a goofy method that works for me. Just had to respond to this thread because it is near and dear to my heart. Just hate wasting seed!!
LorraineR
Gilmer, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 27, 2008
3:02 AM

Post #4714636

Ya'll are all so smart. You mean there is a better method then a bunch of seeds laying all over the couch and beside it?

Good to know!!
Sharkey
Marianna, FL
(Zone 8b)

March 29, 2008
2:07 AM

Post #4724002

This will be my first year to try to save seeds, so I have a lot to learn. I, too, would like to know how long the seeds are viable; for example, extra pepper and annual flower seeds I bought this year.
tabasco
Cincinnati (Anderson, OH
(Zone 6a)

May 30, 2009
11:38 AM

Post #6617104


I use a baseball card album, something like rebecca's idea. I like it because I can page through it and easily see the seed packets and get different ideas for what to plant.

Now I should put it in the fridge for safekeeping.
venice62
Indianapolis, IN
(Zone 5b)

September 17, 2009
2:13 AM

Post #7072590

I use the plastic amber old perscription bottles and also paper envelopes. Then I put them in a cookie tin and in the fridge. I heard that if you use paper envelopes, put a little bag of dry milk in the tin.

If seeds are moldy, I don't think they were dried out well before packaging them. Again, they need to be put in the fridge. Some people put them in the freezer.
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

September 18, 2009
1:13 AM

Post #7075849

I have a bajillion seeds in little ziploc baggies, stuffed in a box. I keep them at room temperature. I thoroughly dry before storing they don't get moldy. Most last for years.

Karen
taj12
Parkersburg, WV

September 18, 2009
8:32 AM

Post #7076722

Last couple of years I have kept my seeds in paper envelopes. I go to dollar general or a dollar store and buy a box of cheap envelopes,then on an evening when I am setting watching TV, I cut envelopes in half from top to bottom. I leave a little flap on the envelope to use to reseal later with a cheap glue stik I buy from dollar store. I then put in my seeds, label outside with name, date, flower color and any other important info. I then keep an old shoe box or other sturdy box with a couple inches of rice, bought at dollar store, in bottom of box and place in our extra refridgerator setting in garage. You can make dividers so you can file seeds in alphabetical order.

Rice does same thing as little silica gel pacs mentioned above (wich is a wonderful way to reuse an item) by keeping moisture out of seeds.

If I have seeds I know I am planing on keeping for a few years I will place them in an old plastic container found in my wifes kitchen (make sure she is not watching you or is not at home for any of you guys) place seeds in container and seal shut and store in fridge. this will keep them from loosing too much moisture. I always pull out 10 or so seeds and place in a damp paper towel sealed in a plastic sandwich bag to see if most will germinate before planting. Then you can get an idea of how many you might need to plant to get results you are wanting.

Just my 2 cents. taj
MichaelZ
Portland, OR
(Zone 8a)

September 18, 2009
10:48 AM

Post #7076829

And don't forget that there is a seed trading forum here. I have gotten many seeds that I wanted by trading the extra seeds I have. I mean, how much parsley does an old guy need any given year?

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/f/trading/all/

Z
jlj072174
Raleigh, NC
(Zone 8a)

September 18, 2009
12:18 PM

Post #7076960

How long would you say is acceptable to dry seeds? This is my first year collecting, and I have several seed pods I've cleaned from my hibiscus plants. I've put them in a bowl with a piece of paper towel to hreelp absorb any moisture. It's been about a month now that I've been collecting them and letting them air dry in the house, though I keep adding to it when I see another seed pod ready to drop.

Also, I bought a bunch of resealable polybags from office depot to save them in, as well as send them to some friends/family/trading. Will these be okay to use? Or should I have gone with paper envelopes? I thought these were good because they have a white strip on the front where I can write the name of the seed and date it, and it wouldn't smear.
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

September 18, 2009
12:35 PM

Post #7076992

The little ziploc baggies work well for me. I've been doing this for about 5 years. I tried the pill bottles for a short time but they take up too much space.

After removing from pods, I let seeds air dry for several weeks. I've never had any rot. A month is plenty of time. And most remain viable for years.

Karen

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 22, 2009
5:50 PM

Post #7092332

Where do you get the little ziplock baggies?
venice62
Indianapolis, IN
(Zone 5b)

September 22, 2009
5:53 PM

Post #7092338

Someone once said Office Depot but I haven't been there yet. Might try Michael's craft store or another one also.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 22, 2009
5:57 PM

Post #7092348

Thanx
diamond9192002
(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN
(Zone 6a)

September 22, 2009
6:03 PM

Post #7092360

Office Depot has the small paper "coin" bags. The paper bags work better for me because the names of the seeds are easier to write and see. I have tons of both if you would like some.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 22, 2009
7:14 PM

Post #7092585

Thanks we have an Office Depot right around the corner.
jlj072174
Raleigh, NC
(Zone 8a)

September 22, 2009
7:38 PM

Post #7092656

I got my little ziploc baggies at Office Depot. I was going to get the paper coin envelopes (about the size/shape of a business card), but they were so expensive. Here is a link to what I got at OD: http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/400651/Office-Depot-Brand-Reclosable-Bags-With/ ... though I don't think I paid as much as the website shows. Maybe they were on sale in the store or something.
MichaelZ
Portland, OR
(Zone 8a)

September 22, 2009
8:16 PM

Post #7092769

I use the paper coin bags because I feel better ecologically using paper rather than plastic and worry less about trapped moisture. Yeah, it hurt shelling out the money, but 500 of these little envelopes should last me the rest of my life. I have no regrets. Z
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

September 22, 2009
9:12 PM

Post #7092989

Those ones @ OD are 3"x5", way bigger than I need. And $9 per 100!

I buy small ones at Walmart. I think they're $1 for 100.

Karen
venice62
Indianapolis, IN
(Zone 5b)

September 22, 2009
10:55 PM

Post #7093350

Karen, what area of Walmart are they in?
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

September 22, 2009
11:12 PM

Post #7093424

They're in the craft section, near beads. I guess they're meant for storing beads. They were in plastic, hanging from the wall on hooks. They had different sizes, like 11/2" X 2" or 2"x3".

They also have them at Michael's crafts, not too expensive there, either. (Maybe 50 bags for a dollar?) I think they were with beads @ Michael's too. If you ask, they'll direct you to them.

Karen
venice62
Indianapolis, IN
(Zone 5b)

September 22, 2009
11:21 PM

Post #7093457

Thanks!

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 30, 2013
5:49 PM

Post #9403160

taj said:

>> Rice does same thing as little silica gel pacs mentioned above (wich is a wonderful way to reuse an item) by keeping moisture out of seeds.

Rice works better if you bake it first, to get it extra-dry. I'm not sure of the exact temperature, but I was told "not quite hot enough that they turn brown".

And silica gel can be regenerated by baking a thin layer at 250 F. No hotter or you'll "scorch" it so it can't hold as much water.

Store either one in tightly-sealed glass as soon as it cools enough that it doesn't crack the glass. Otherwise the extra-dry desiccant will start soaking up water from the air.

Silica gel is very c heap at craft stores, int he flower-drying isle. I think I paid less than $7 for 1.5 pounds.
eweed
Everson, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 31, 2013
12:30 AM

Post #9403400

I keep my seeds in paper and plastic zip locs. At the end of the planting season I alpha list all my left over seeds and put all the packages in a vaccum seal pouch and seal it and put it in the freezer. In 10 years Linda has not used them for stir fry but I am still planting tomatoe seeds.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

October 4, 2013
7:55 PM

Post #9678235

I use prescription bottles if many seeds of the same kind. If only a few seeds, I use the small craft ziplock bags found in Walmart craft dept. All are stored in the fridge in the crisper. Never freeze seeds. In nature there is always moisture that goes with the freezing process (stratification). Not so in a freezer. A seed has some moisture inside. When frozen dry, it will freeze and damage cells and can make the seeds unusable.

StillPlaysWDirt

StillPlaysWDirt
(Becky), Lipan, TX
(Zone 7b)

October 4, 2013
9:49 PM

Post #9678286

Lots of good info on here, I do like the idea of keeping them in the fridge but I cook for 8 people and space is a hot commodity in there! Half of my seeds (the ones that have actually been cleaned!) are in little ziplocs I found at walmart real cheap like another user stated, labeled with the botanical name, common name and year collected. Some of the bigger acorns and beans, I just put in bigger ziplocs. Yes, have to make sure they are thoroughly dry, I learned my lesson a few years ago, mostly all my seeds molded, such a bummer!! Once I'm done cleaning all those seeds, I plan on getting one of those pocket organizers you can hang on the wall and separating my baggies by the month they get planted out. Looking at this inexpensive one from BB&B. Mounting it behind my closet door, nice and cool and dark :)

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/1/1/14504-crystal-clear-vinyl-12-pocket-shoe-caddy.html

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

October 9, 2013
6:44 PM

Post #9682466

Blomma,

>> All are stored in the fridge in the crisper.

I agree that the "steady cool temperature" is very good for long-lasting viability. But are you controlling humidity ideally?

I understand if you're using the "vegetable drawer" or crisper so that you don't get condensation every time someone opens the main fridge door.

But are you aware that that drawer is designed to have higher humidity than the rest of the fridge? Not drier. That's so that things like lettuce doesn't dry out and become limp. It holds water longer in the crisper, stays "turgid" which makes them crisper.

Crackers get crisper when dry, but lettuce and fruit get limp and wrinkled when dry.

Maybe the newer drawers with an adjustable humidity control reduce the amount by which they are more humid. Or I may be wrong, and they let you keep thigns drier than they would be on a shelf. But my fear is that the RH in any of those drawers is often higher than 50% RH, and when you open it and get condensation, it goes to 100% until evaporation and air circulation or diffusion reduces it back down to something like (a guess) 50% RH.

http://www.myrecipes.com/how-to/cooking-questions/what-is-crisper-drawer-00420000012909/
http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-use-your-refrigerator-humidity-drawers-properly-178094

Perhaps you would consider double-bagging you small Ziplocs inside a much bigger "freezer bag" which was designed to keep humidity out (or in) better than our small, thin Ziplocs. I think the Ziploc zipper is the main problem. At least that will give them protection against rapidly varying humidity due to drawers opening and condensation.

Like you, I pack my seeds inside 1 mil plastic Ziplocs. 2"x3", 3"x4", or 4"x6". Usually when I have a lot of one kind of seed, I divide it into 2x3" Ziplocs for individual sowings or trades. (I have only very small beds, so this works for anything except peas) and beans.)

Humidity and oxygen can pass slowly right through thin polyethylene like 1 mil. (*) 4 mil is better.

Humidity and oxygen can pass more easily through the zipper. However, "any" humidity is rather a lot.

(Try trapping some air inside a 2x3 Ziploc. Close the zipper firmly. Now put firm pressure on the bulge. It doesn't take very much force to push air right through the zipper fast enough to feel. That means there's some gap.)

So I like to keep small Ziplocs with seeds in a dry atmosphere, so that leakage allows humidity to be released from seeds and gradually draw out of the Ziploc and into a desiccant. They stay viable longer at lower equilibrium relative humidity.

Ideal RH for the longest viability is around 15-30% RH, or some say up to 35% RH. Viable life span for most seeds very roughly doubles for every 10% you can reduce the RH (without going below 15% RH). The equivalent actual % water in the seed (like grams of water per hundred grams of seeds) is around 4% to 7%

Post-harvest handling of seed collections
http://www.kew.org/ucm/groups/public/documents/document/ppcont_014345.pdf

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens Technical Information Sheets:
http://www.kew.org/science-research-data/kew-in-depth/msbp/publications-data-resources/technical-resources/technical-information-sheets/index.htm


This message was edited Oct 9, 2013 6:44 PM

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

October 9, 2013
6:47 PM

Post #9682470

pics

Note that I usually organize my 2x3 polyethylene Ziplocs inside glassine envelopes. The glassine envelopes are not moisture barriers because they are not sealed. At most they are folded over.

Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA   Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA   Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA   Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA   
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RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

October 9, 2013
6:52 PM

Post #9682472

Because I like gadgets, I'm a big fan of desiccant: silica gel in paper coin envelopes to keep relative humidity below 35% where I store seeds. Around $7 for 1.5 pounds in the flower-drying isle of a craft store.

Of course that needs to be in a tightly sealed container or it would exhaust itself in a few hours by trying to dehydrate the whole atmosphere. I use plastic jars that used to hold 3 pounds of peanuts. I wish I had gaskets!

I put many 2x3" seed Ziplocs into the jar along with one paper envelope with 1-2 tablespoons of silica gel. .

A real "freezer bag" designed to reduce freezer burn might be tight enough as the outer moisture barrier ... with a little desiccant inside the big bag.

My 2-pound peanut jar lid is intended (by me) to seal as tight as possible to keep "all" humidity from the room out.

The paper coin envelope around the silica gel lets humidity pass very freely, so the air inside the jar is kept as dry as possible.

The thin 2x3" Ziplocs protect seeds from any humidity swings like condensation, or room air entering when I unscrew the lid. during humid days. The thin Ziplocs plus silica gel even let seeds continue drying very slowly if I put them away "air dry" around 40%-50% RH.

P.S. After I air-dry my seeds for a few weeks, sometimes I dry them further IN PAPER envelopes in a tight container with some desiccant. That allows me to get them drier than the 40-50% equilibrium RH I can get by air drying. But when i store seeds in paper along with desiccant in paper, i watch carefully so they don't spend much time with the jar RH below 10%. I don't want the seeds' eRH to go below 15%.


(*)
[HYPERLINK@secure.drierite.com]
page 20
"Standard practice is to line them with a plastic film, such as polyethylene. While the plastic film will hold liquid water, water vapor may pass through it. For instance, 1-mil polyethylene will pass water vapor at the rate of 1.5 grams/sq. ft./ 24 hrs, while 4-mil polyethylene will only pass about 0.05 grams/sq. ft./24 hrs at 75° F and 100% RH. We normally recommend that you use a minimum of 4-mil polyethylene, or something equivalent to it in water vapor transmission rate. "

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

October 9, 2013
9:10 PM

Post #9682550

Rick,
Here are my iris seedlings blooming at age 14 months, June 2013. The seeds were stored in the crisper until sowed in November along with some older seeds. I would call that a successful storage.

As said, "the proof is in the pudding" Seeds are tougher than you think. Nature made them that way or this earth would be barren of plants.



This message was edited Oct 9, 2013 9:17 PM

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RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

October 10, 2013
4:32 PM

Post #9683168

>> Seeds are tougher than you think.

First, I agree with that. I've heard many people say they stored peas or corn in a paper bag in an unheated and sun-struck shed with humid seasons for 5+ years.

I also agree that if your storage goals are just a few years, and seeds that are not fussy or delicate, the same thing that works for you works for many other people. "Don't fix it if it already works well enough" makes sense.

From what I read, many seeds can be kept longER if thoroughly dried, then kept in a steady low temperature and humidity. Like, seed banks that want to hold something for 15-25 years instead of 3-5 years, and still have 75% to 85% germination instead of 15% to 25%.

Different goals, different methods.

However, not all seeds can even survive drying! A few short-lived types NEED some humidity to last more than a few months. But I don't think Iris are like that:

sallyg says:
http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/3304/

"store them dry in an envelope."
"Margie Valenzuela, writing for The Tucson Iris Society, says iris seed can be stored for 18 years and still grow if given the right conditions."

Read more: http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/3304/#ixzz2hMdpUOd5

Also:
" Iris seeds are good-sized -- from 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch "

If those big seeds can last 18 years and still have reasonable viability, they don't need desiccant or any other pampering to be held for just a few years!

Many other seeds, for example small seeds, have more limited stored resources and more of those might remain viable for, say, 10 years, if they had optimum conditions.

I'm basing my practice on things I've read, like this from the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, and some papers that address seed bank issues:

Post-harvest handling of seed collections
http://www.kew.org/ucm/groups/public/documents/document/ppcont_014345.pdf

"A “safe” moisture level for collections in the field is around
50% equilibrium relative humidity (eRH)."

(I believed that that referred to brief storage during filed trips where mold was the main concern.)

"Seed life span approximately doubles for every 10% reduction in seed eRH."

I've read that rule of thumb in several places.
EIB
Conneaut Lake, PA

November 15, 2013
6:32 AM

Post #9709446

Blooma...Please, oh please, tell me where you find the iris seeds?I've never noticed any seed pods (Am I blind?) I break off spent blossoms. Is that where the seeds are and I'm throwing them away? Did you gather seeds one year, then plant and bloom the next year? Thanks. Elaine

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

November 15, 2013
6:41 PM

Post #9709932

EIB,
LOL, I come to your rescue!!
Don't feel bad! For years I never saw any pods either----until 2009. They are hard to miss when they are there.
When an iris flower is pollinated---bee or otherwise, a green lump will develop in a week just under the fading flower, see 4th photo.

All the pods shown I cross pollinated by hand. In general, it takes 2 to3 years for seeds to bloom. This year they bloomed at 14 months much to my surprise. 5th photo. Since I have seedlings that bloomed at age 3, the only explaination is all the rotted horse manure I hand dug in the fall prior to planting. Likewise, daylilies seedlings bloomed, which were growing alongside in the same seedling nursery.

This message was edited Nov 15, 2013 10:12 PM

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Zen_Man
Ottawa, KS
(Zone 5b)

November 16, 2013
7:39 AM

Post #9710193

Hi Lilly,

Elaine said that "I've never noticed any seed pods... I break off spent blossoms." Is it possible that she is removing the part of the iris bloom that develops into a seed pod? Great pictures, by the way.

ZM

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

November 16, 2013
11:13 AM

Post #9710335

Hi ZM,
Thank for the compliment.

That is possible. She will have to chime in on that question. Could be that she broke the dying bloom off as soon as it wilted. By that time it is too early to see if there are pods starting. It takes a week to show up. She will know by next summer.

Mipii
(Robin) Blissfield, MI
(Zone 6a)

November 16, 2013
7:31 PM

Post #9710633

Nice pods Blomma and really nice pics! BTW, what is that little beauty daylily cultivar on your avatar? She's such a clear pink!

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

November 16, 2013
7:52 PM

Post #9710649

Mipii, Thanks. The DL name is SOFT SUMER NIGHT (Stamile 1996) a Tet. It is a very pretty pink.
Mipii
(Robin) Blissfield, MI
(Zone 6a)

November 16, 2013
8:38 PM

Post #9710683

No please...thank-you! I'd like to say I don't fall in love easily but, when it comes to plants...not so much. Although, some strike me much harder than others...that one is a beaut. I've got to have it!

LazLo

LazLo
Austin, TX
(Zone 8b)

December 9, 2013
6:33 AM

Post #9724448

Hi, Bill - -

Like almost every DG member, I started out drying seeds and storing them in ziplock baggies. Several years later, I found out that was possibly the least good I could do.

Seeds are living things. Living things eventually suffocate in closed plastic bags or in tightly-covered plastic containers. Dried seeds will stay dry and yet breathe well enough if placed into either glassine (expensive & hard to find) envelopes or in "coin" envelopes that you can buy by the hundreds at office supply stores. I use N°3 coin envelopes mostly - - about the same size as a 2" x 3" zip-baggie. Unless you have a very humid environment in your home where the seeds are stored, either type of envelope will permit sufficient air to be available to your seeds while they are in their dormancy, waiting to be sown.

Coin envelopes are superior to plastic zipbags in other ways - - you can write on them with many different types of instruments, not just sharpie pens. The information is lots harder to be rubbed off if in pencil, ballpoint or gel pen ink.

Their major drawback is that they cost more than plastic baggies - - they do not come in the smaller quantities as some baggies are sold. They come in boxes of 250s and you will need to use scotch tape for closures if you do not seal their gummed flaps.

But any humidity left on the seeds will not fester and awaken possible fungi spores just waiting to kill off your seeds - - coin envelopes will help "breathe" away minute amounts of moisture still on your seeds at the time they are packed away. With sealed plastic, the moisture is trapped inside - - not only there for seeds to sprout prematurely but also for spores of fungi to be awakened. And the fungi don't care as much about the lack of air as your seeds will.

Are you afraid to sleep now? LOL. Many folks have great success using the zip bags because most of us are pretty careful to dry things out really well, even if chaff is included with seeds. And, if you are going to sow the seeds in the next season, there's a very good chance enough air was locked in the baggie. But if you are storing heirloom seeds, you may want to be keeping some of them packaged up for long periods and that is when you should give consideration to putting the seeds into paper envelopes, or coin envelopes.

Ever notice that most commercial seed packages are made of paper? The reason is mainly to keep their shelf life viable during transportation, storage, and display in the store, as well as wherever you might squirrel the packages away in your home. Notice I wrote most, not all.

Some commercial seeds come in outer envelopes made of paper and the seeds themselves are sealed inside a smaller inner envelope. I haven't got much info to lend to you, Bill, about why that is done. It's been my experience, though, that the seeds are generally quite small and perhaps the packaging is so none are lost when the outer paper is torn open.

OK - - now you have MTCW on this subject.

Welcome to the addiction . . . and

A T B T Y !           ~           ŁazŁo    ;--)


Thumbnail by LazLo   Thumbnail by LazLo   Thumbnail by LazLo      
Click an image for an enlarged view.

StillPlaysWDirt

StillPlaysWDirt
(Becky), Lipan, TX
(Zone 7b)

December 9, 2013
8:41 AM

Post #9724564

Oh Lazlo I'm freaking out now!
I hope you weren't pissed that I sent your seeds in little ziplocs! That must have been pretty annoying considering your above comment! So sorry! Honestly, both seeds were dried real well and are from this season, so I'm sure they're fine, but now I will be a busy bee finding the coin bags or glassine envelopes to repackage.
I have to admit, I've been looking for a good excuse to repackage the majority of my stash/hoard anyway, this time adding sticker labels with a picture and sowing directions. My stash spreadsheet is almost finished and once it is, the next step of making seed packet labels should be a piece of cake! I hope lots of DGers read this article and reconsider the way their seed is packaged and just as importantly, how it's stored!! I have received a few trades where upon closer look I see condensation inside the bag or even worse.. mold.. major bummer :(
Anywho, thanks for the info and hope you will consider trading with me again in the future.. I swear I'll ditch the plastic!

LazLo

LazLo
Austin, TX
(Zone 8b)

December 9, 2013
9:23 AM

Post #9724579

Becky - no problems, neighbour. Whenever I get seeds in, I try to make time to dust them with ground cinnamon and then repackage them in coin envelopes.

BTW - - what also works pretty well is taking plain, white business-size envelopes, cutting them in half and then taping the cut sides to get 2 seed storing envelopes. This works the very best with envelopes that have a more rectangular opening at the back rather than a deep triangular "V" opening . . . better protection from spillage. Mostly, I use this type to store multiple packets of the same seed. These reworked envelopes store pretty nicely in most shoe boxes, btw.

Another note about coin envelopes - - Using scotch tape (or whatever else you fancy in tapes), put a small section of tape (maybe 1 inch) face down onto the back of the envelope, from just beneath the flap and extending out further than the edge of the gummed flap. Then take a slightly longer piece (maybe 1.5 to 2 inches), fold a bit upon itself to make a non-sticking flap, then affix the second piece near the edge of the coin envelope flap so that most of this piece is positioned over the first piece of tape that is exposed from underneath the gummed flap. This makes a reusable and secure closure that you can open and close over and over again without losing the stickiness of the tape. This is also the way I make a reusable closure for the larger envelopes I make for storing several packets for trading, etc.

As far as what DOES make me concerned about seeds received in zip bags is when it is obvious the person who packed them has purposely gone to the trouble of forcing as much air out of their baggy as possible before sending them. This makes it much easier for USPS mail handling machinery to turn seeds into chaff and powder. Air in a plastic baggy not only helps seeds to breathe it also helps cushion some of the many blows the piece of mail is going to receive. That's why they put air into bubble envelopes! Sometimes seeds come in and their little bodies have left permanent indentations into the baggy - - evidence the trip was a rough one.

OK - now I am finished with adding MTCW.

Thumbnail by LazLo
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Zen_Man
Ottawa, KS
(Zone 5b)

December 9, 2013
9:38 AM

Post #9724591

As an experiment, I just now put a small amount of water in a Ziploc bag, sealed it thoroughly, and set it on a shelf in my room here by the computer. I will keep an eye on it from time to time to see how that water fares.

At one time Park Seeds was using seed packets made of a metal foil/plastic film construction, obviously meant to be waterproof.

Gaseous molecules have the ability to diffuse through various thin films, and the smaller molecules, like helium atoms, are good at diffusing. Which is why those helium-filled party "balloons" lose their buoyancy after a few days, despite a thin layer of aluminum foil in their bag.

Obviously water molecules are much bigger than helium atoms, so their diffusing capabilities will be much less. I will be watching the water in that Ziploc baggie. I don't expect the liquid water molecules to get through the plastic film, but the liquid water will be in equilibrium with gaseous water vapor in the bag in the small amount of air that is in the bag, and this experiment will look for the ability of gaseous water molecules to diffuse through the plastic film.

ZM

StillPlaysWDirt

StillPlaysWDirt
(Becky), Lipan, TX
(Zone 7b)

December 9, 2013
10:13 AM

Post #9724605

More great advice Lazlo :)
I'll be trying that tape trick if I decide to go the coin envie route. Would you use something else for tiny dust like seeds? I worry about them falling out.. I received some alpine strawberry seeds from burpee and within their standard seed envelope, was packed a smaller paper they folded over itself multiple times (think BC powder). The paper almost looks like what those glassine envelopes are made out of. Maybe I'll just make my own glassine envelopes if I can find the paper..
Zen_Man
Ottawa, KS
(Zone 5b)

December 10, 2013
8:43 AM

Post #9725385

This article appeared in the current newsletter.

http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/372/

ZM

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

December 10, 2013
6:12 PM

Post #9725780

I use glassine envelopes for tiny or dustlike seeds since they would stick to plastic by static electricity. The envelope is inserted in the craft zip lock bags found in Walmart. Then stored in the crisper drawer. I only saved perennial seeds so the chill of the fridge is good for them.

For the last 4 years, I save only daylily and iris seeds from my own hybridization. After drying, the cured seeds are stored in prescription containers with label of the cross, then placed in the fridge until either sold or sowed.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

December 11, 2013
5:49 PM

Post #9726407

I'm glad I found this thread! I mostly agree with most of the points raised, but differ a little in my conclusions and practice.

I partly agree with LazLo, but only partly. I would agree even more if we were talking about 4 mil thick Ziplocs made from dense "freezer bag" plastic , with double "zippers" like they make for freezer bags. Or heat sealed Mylar bags, such as I have heard that some seed repositories use (I hope they include a desiccant inside the Mylar!!)

However, thin plastic does let some humidity and oxygen diffuse right through it.
[HYPERLINK@secure.drierite.com]
"While the plastic film will hold liquid water, water vapor may pass through it. For instance, 1-mil polyethylene will pass water vapor at the rate of 1.5 grams/sq. ft./ 24 hrs, while 4-mil polyethylene will only pass about 0.05 grams/sq. ft./24 hrs at 75° F and 100% RH. "

Then consider the Ziploc zipper. It's not a tight seal at all, as you can prove to yourself by trapping some air inside and then pressing firmly on the "bubble". You can squeeze air right through the closed zipper.

How fast does humidity escape?

Fast enough to keep up with really dry (15-30% RH), cool seeds that are hardly metabolizing at all? I think so, at least if they are surrounded by very dry air.

Fast enough to keep up with room-temp seeds at 50% RH or higher, that are metabolizing fairly fast? I don't know.

Either way, I like to store my seeds in thin, cheap Ziplocs, packed inside tightly sealed plastic jars or tubs, with some silica gel desiccant in the tubs. I figure that the very dry air around the Ziplocs helps humidity diffuse out of the Ziplocs.

YMMV, and paper pkts plus desiccant is probably a safer plan than what I do. But paper packets exposed to humidity that varies, sometimes above 50% RH, allows the paper to absorb humidity from the atmosphere and release it near the seeds even when room dries back out.

My theory is that people in humid climates who want longer-term storage for their seeds would do well to consider using a desiccant like silica gel, baked rice, oil-absorbent Bentonite clay containing Montmorillonite, Drierite (anhydrous Calcium Sulfate) or what-have you.

Note that paper absorbs and releases humidity. I always have a paper label inside my Ziploc. For small trade pkts, the paper may weigh as much as the small seeds. Once the inside of the Ziploc has reached equilibrium with 20% RH air in a drying jar, the paper is also at 20% eRH. Now, when I remove the Ziploc and mail it to someone, that crackling-dry paper will absorb some of the humidity that diffuses into the Ziploc.

But I may be wrong. LazLo may be right that under many circumstances, even cheap plastic Ziplocs tend to keep in too much humidity near seeds for extra long-term storage.

After all, what is "too much humidity "? You could say "any humidity" and I would be hard-pressed to answer.

And if you are storing seeds that are already at 60%-75% RH, sucking up oxygen and spewing out humidity like a jogger after the second lap, sticking them inside a plastic bag will make that work even worse!

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

December 11, 2013
5:50 PM

Post #9726408

If you go back some decades, there seemed to be some disagreement over "how dry was dry enough" to store seeds. But I think there is a consensus now: except for unusual seeds that need to be stored moist, and have short shelf lives anyway, seeds last much longer at 20% RH than 50%. And humidity matters even more than temperature.

"An Editorial Perspective on Seed Conservation"
http://www.kew.org/ucm/groups/public/documents/document/ppcont_013821.pdf
"Optimum longevity appears to coincide with the lowest level of volatile gas emission at c. 20% RH. Very low RH treatments (i.e., ultra-dry) can be damaging to some seedlots. Others appear to tolerate well very dry (and cold) storage."

I think that their oxygen needs are met by trapped air plus diffusion.

Franchi ("Seeds of Italy") and many commercial seed suppliers seal their seeds 100% tightly in foil. I'm sure they dry them well first.

On the other hand, maybe they WANT the seeds to go bad within a few years of your buying them!

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens said:

>> "A “safe” moisture level for collections in the field is around 50% equilibrium relative humidity (eRH)."

>> "Seed life span approximately doubles for every 10% reduction in seed eRH."

>> "Once transferred to the seed bank, collections can then be dried
to around 15% eRH (4-7% mc depending on seed oil content), the
recommended moisture level for long-term conservation of orthodox seeds.
• Never freeze collections until the seeds are fully dry.

http://www.kew.org/ucm/groups/public/documents/document/ppcont_014345.pdf

Anything below 85% RH will protect against likelihood of mold.

Below 50% RH, the seeds' metabolism has slowed down enough that they would not use up "too much" of their stored food in several months or maybe up to a few years depending on seed type.

Drying seeds to 50% RH slows them down so they last "a while", but drying them down to equilibrium with air at 15-30% RH really puts them into "deep sleep" or "hibernation" - meaning their metabolism slows WAY down. They don't need anywhere near as much oxygen, and they don't release near as much humidity.

"Seed life span approximately doubles for every 10% reduction in seed eRH."


Based on that rule of thumb from some Kew Gardens data sheets (and I've seen it used elsewhere), seeds at 20% eRH should last 8 times longer than seeds at 50%eRH.

I agree with Lazo that THOROUGH drying before storing in plastic is critical. If you DON'T get them dryer than 30-40% RH, they will keep metabolizing oxygen into water and CO2, and the humidity may accumulate faster than it migrates through the plastic and through the zipper. The humidity will increase until the seeds are aging excessively (using up their stored food reserves). And if humidity gets over 85% RH, mold is a risk.


Post-harvest handling of seed collections
http://www.kew.org/ucm/groups/public/documents/document/ppcont_014345.pdf

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens Technical Information Sheets:
http://www.kew.org/science-research-data/kew-in-depth/msbp/publications-data-resources/technical-resources/technical-information-sheets/index.htm

"Giving Seeds What They Need In Storage":
http://www.hillgardens.com/storeseeds.htm
http://permaculture.org.au/2012/07/07/share-the-love-seed-saving/
http://www.cog.ca/documents/SeedsofDiversitySU06.pdf
http://www.seedsave.org/issi/904/beginner.html

http://www.seedcontainers.net/the_risk_of_inadequate_containers.html

Kew: theory of desiccants and RH
http://www.kew.org/ucm/groups/public/documents/document/ppcont_014349.pdf

Lots more Kew technical links:
http://www.kew.org/science-research-data/kew-in-depth/msbp/publications-data-resources/technical-resources/seed-conservation-science-practice/index.htm

Theoretical discussion of long-term storage strategies:
http://www.kew.org/ucm/groups/public/documents/document/ppcont_013800.pdf

"An Editorial Perspective on Seed Conservation"
http://www.kew.org/ucm/groups/public/documents/document/ppcont_013821.pdf
"Optimum longevity appears to coincide with the lowest level of volatile gas emission at c. 20% RH. Very low RH treatments (i.e., ultra-dry) can be damaging to some seedlots. Others appear to tolerate well very dry (and cold) storage."





This message was edited Mar 6, 2014 4:18 PM

meadowyck

meadowyck
Brooksville, FL
(Zone 9a)

December 11, 2013
7:49 PM

Post #9726480

Rickcorey

thanks for all the links, I'm going to take some time to read up.

This is a great thread and love the input from all, even if it differs, we can't learn anything unless we are willing to listen with open ears.

Jan

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

December 11, 2013
9:35 PM

Post #9726523

Rick, here is some FALSE information from one of your links. The author got it backwards.

Quote:
"Open pollinated varieties of plants (also referred to as heritage or heirloom varieties) will grow ‘true to type’ when seed is saved. This means you get the characteristics you want and expect from the plant — especially important in food plants. Hybrid plants (as varieties sold in nurseries or grown from the seed of supermarket vegetables usually are) tend to produce seed that is unreliable — it will produce throw-backs to varieties that the hybrid was artificially bred from."

Open pollinated plants DO NOT produce true to type. I know that from my own experience, and most gardeners know it also. Nor are they heritage or heirloom varieties. Whether pollinated by man or insects, they are hybrids and not true to type. That is how new varieties of iris, and daylilies, etc. are produced.

You can't believe everything on the web. And I wanted to put my 2 cents worth for new gardeners that may not know any better.

The link was the second under the heading of Giving Seeds What They Need In Storage":

With all that technical information stated above, it is a wonder that we have any plants at all. I guess Mother Nature never read the same information and just went about her business sprouting seeds when conditions are right to assure their survival.

StillPlaysWDirt

StillPlaysWDirt
(Becky), Lipan, TX
(Zone 7b)

December 12, 2013
4:42 AM

Post #9726628

True that! Lots of good ideas all around.. common sense, scientific, some things I never knew and other things I never even considered! I do know it's best to gather all possible info before starting something and this thread has a lot of good tools for my upcoming seed starting EXTRAVAGANZA!!
I would like to see a poll, you know, like the one on DG homepage, asking 'what type of storage do you pack your seeds in?' Most I've seen use ziplocs, me included (although I would like to start using the glassine envelopes :)
I always dry thoroughly in paper bags that are suspended from those hangers that have the little clips on them. After they're dry, then cleaned and bagged, I keep the lot in one box which is separated into 5 or 6 smaller more manageable bagged groups. One bag for flowers, another for shrubs, another for vegetables, etc. and yes I have a pouch of desiccant in each!
I think I do a good job of keeping them in the best conditions I can offer, but now I know what I can do to further protect them.. Thanks a lot to all contributors :D
Zen_Man
Ottawa, KS
(Zone 5b)

December 12, 2013
12:44 PM

Post #9726860

The water amount in the Ziploc bag experiment is about the same.

I saw somewhere that oxygen gas readily diffuses through polyethylene film, although I don't know the identity of the plastic used in Ziploc bags.

I am continuing to store seeds in Ziploc bags, although many of them are in a secondary container. To me, it's not a given that seeds will suffocate in a Ziploc bag, even though they are "living things". Many plastic bags have warnings about suffocating a child, but I don't think those warnings apply to seed storage, or to Ziploc bags.

I do intend to improve my seed storage techniques in the next year.

I do appreciate all the links given by Rick Corey.

ZM

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

December 18, 2013
4:59 PM

Post #9730339


Zen-man said:
>> I saw somewhere that oxygen gas readily diffuses through polyethylene film

It certainly makes sense that the very non-polar O2 molecule would diffuse through non-polar polyethylene faster than the very polar H2O molecule (despite O2 being almost twice as big as H2O).

And hydrogen-bonded water is more like H6O3 - no reason for any of those to break free from the pack, breaking hydrogen binds, just to diffuse into plastic!

So I don't think oxygen is as big an issue as humidity ... 60-70% RH wakes the seeds up enough that they start consuming their stored food. And 85% humidity encourages mold!

>> Many plastic bags have warnings about suffocating a child, but I don't think those warnings apply to seed storage, or to Ziploc bags.

But it does make the point clearly that this is all about RATE. A tick or a sand flea might be able to get enough O2 through a big thin plastic bag, but not a baby or a puppy. They require more O2 than can diffuse that fast. And you see how fast a plastic bag fogs up if you seal it around your neck ... don't DO this, it's just a THOUGHT experiment! :-)

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

December 18, 2013
5:00 PM

Post #9730340


It sounds like most of us agree that seeds need to be stored "dry enough".

I would agree that plastic Ziplocs (even cheap thin ones) must slow down humidity diffusion[u] somewhat[/u]. In a real dry climate, maybe paper is better than plastic-with-no-desiccant. For seeds that are only dry to 50% RH to start with, maybe plastic makes a marginal situation into a bad situation.

It matters a lot whether your goal is 2-4 years of storage, or 10-20 years! I think millions of people do well enough with room-air-dry to get several years of viable storage out of common seeds, at least big seeds.

In my climate, I am guessing that protecting the seeds from the humidity in my house is more important than protecting them from their own metabloic humidity (at least, if they are dried down to "deep sleep" levels like 15-25% RH) before Zipping them up.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

December 18, 2013
5:59 PM

Post #9730367

blomma,

>> With all that technical information stated above,

Mostly I quote sources when there is a lot of disagreement. I like to know "why" something is thought to be a good or bad practice, because situations matter, and what was unimportant in a dry climate may be important in a wet climate (and vice-verse). If we just repeat what we hear without knowing and testing the "why" we'll still be repeating the same wrong answers 100 years from now.

I figure that my long, verbose posts are bad enough. Better to give a link to my sources and then you know as much as I do, and you don't need to pay ANY attention to my opinions.

And it makes it easier for most people: they only have to hit "Page Down" three times to skip my posts, instead of six times.

I think a very great many people are turned off by the "trappings" of science, and I agree that it can be like a club where the little boys made up their own secret language to make it as hard as possible for outsiders to join the club. I think of that as "bad science" or "ego based pseudo-science".

In my opinion, "good science" is just people humbly asking Nature "why" and respecting the answers.

Just like human relationships, you can't get along with Nature unless you understand what she needs and why.

In my opinion, "good science" is listening to Nature, like a good human relationship involves listening to your partner
- and asking relevant questions
- and paying attention to the answers
- and reading between the lines
- and giving what the partner needs (like compost and less intensive cropping and some fallow time)
instead of what's easy for you to give (like 20-10-15 chemical fertilizer and pesticides and herbicides).

I wish I knew some of the sources where someone said they saw that emergent science showed that storing in plastic was very bad for seeds. if there is some issue [u]in addition to humidity management[/u], I would love to learn about that.

I just got some seeds from Italy in a heat-sealed plastic pouch inside a heat-sealed metal-foil pouch. Of course, that pouch usually only stays closed for 2-6 months, and those seeds probably came out of the seed bin at 15-20% RH.

A lot of the older scientific articles talk about seed banks using glass or triple-foil sealed seed storage. i wonder how long they considered "long"?

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

December 18, 2013
6:12 PM

Post #9730373

Blomma,

The acronym "OP" is used in two very different ways by different people. I guess that you use it to mean "pollinated by wind and insects without a lot of fussing around by humans and no isolation from cross-pollinating varieties".

If that's the way you use it, then I would agree with most of what you said.

I like to call that "openLY pollinatED", meaning that this batch of seeds came from plants that were pollinated (and cross-pollinated) by an unknown mixture of pollen donors.

It would be nice if people used "PP" instead of "OP" to prevent confusion with the other meaning of "OP". Joseph coined the term "PP" for "Promiscuously Pollinated".
http://allthingsplants.com/ideas/view/joseph/1157/The-Complete-Guide-to-Seed-Saving-An-Article-Containing-Every-Bit-of-Information-That-Could-Possibly-Be-Useful/

- - - - - -

However, seed catalogs and many other people use "OP" to mean an inbred, stable VARIETY like an heirloom strain that was preserved for 75 or 200 years without much genetic drift. Those "OP Varieties" are the opposite of F1 hybrids. They are traditional strains like 'Mortgage Lifter' tomatoes or 'Blue Lake' beans.

Those "OP Varieties" will grow ‘true to type’ when seed is saved IF the grower observes pollen isolation distances or plays around with tents or bagging blooms.

This might be the same link I posted before, but it is the long version of my opinion about this double use of one term to mean very different things..

http://allthingsplants.com/ideas/view/RickCorey/1279/OP-vs-OP/

Mipii
(Robin) Blissfield, MI
(Zone 6a)

December 19, 2013
7:27 AM

Post #9730602

Thanks Rick, especially regarding unifying the meaning of; and a more precise understanding and usage of those terms like 'OP'.
Doug9345
Durhamville, NY
(Zone 5b)

December 20, 2013
6:27 AM

Post #9731150

RickCorey_WA wrote:Blomma,



However, seed catalogs and many other people use "OP" to mean an inbred, stable VARIETY like an heirloom strain that was preserved for 75 or 200 years without much genetic drift. Those "OP Varieties" are the opposite of F1 hybrids. They are traditional strains like 'Mortgage Lifter' tomatoes or 'Blue Lake' beans.

Those "OP Varieties" will grow ‘true to type’ when seed is saved IF the grower observes pollen isolation distances or plays around with tents or bagging blooms.

That's the most common way I have seen OP used any other meaning would have to be generated from context. If person AB said they had an open pollinated squash variety for example I'd assume it had only homozygous pairing of all genes.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

December 24, 2013
5:36 PM

Post #9733868

>> That's the most common way I have seen OP used

For years, I THOUGHT that was the only way I had seen it used!

Imagine my surprise when I saw a pkt of seeds of a well-know F1 hybrid strain also labelled "OP". The seed trader explained that "OP means pollinated freely by wind and insects without human intervention".

I thought, "why would anyone label a pkt with something that did not mean EITHER 'known pollen source' OR 'cross pollinated'?"

When you say "pollinated freely ..." you aren't saying that there ARE cross pollinators nearby, and you aren't saying there aren't.

I objected to the usage that I thought damaged the "usual" usage by making it ambiguous. They pointed out that many people, including the Seed Savers exchange, used it in the ambiguous way.

So now I question every seed pkt anyone sent me, labelled "OP". Maybe that was their non-committal way of saying it might be totally cross-pollinated, or not.

(Another way to make that ambiguous statement is to mark the pkt "ex." Like:
"ex. Salvia splendens var 'Yvonne's Giant'"

That means explicitly "I collected this seed from a 'Yvonne's Giant' cultivar of the S. splendens species, but I won't make any claims either way about how cross-pollinated it might be, or with what". And anyone can look up that cultivar and find out it is a well-know OP variety (inbred enough that it is is table when pollinated by other plants of that cultivar".

The advantage of "ex." is that it doesn't make "OP" a meaningless abbreviation by using the same acronym for very different purposes.

evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

December 24, 2013
8:21 PM

Post #9733917

If we collect our seeds from an open-pollinated plant, what guarantee is there that it has not crossed with another plant we or a neighbor might have?

Even if we collect seeds from what was a hybrid plant, it still may cross with another, unless its seed is sterile.

And then, of course, we may not know what we are getting...

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 6, 2014
8:47 PM

Post #9742142

>> If we collect our seeds from an open-pollinated plant, what guarantee is there that it has not crossed with another plant we or a neighbor might have?

Isolation distances, plants flowering at different times, and accepting that 95% or 90% is pure enough for most hobby purposes.

If we want guarantees, we do have to bag a bloom or use a floating row cover that seals to the ground well enough to keep pollinating insects out.

Organza bags probably count as "not open-pollinated" because you would either have to pollinate those blooms by hand, or play the game where you only uncover them briefly in the early morning and try to catch a bee on his first round of the day.

Wind-pollinated plants are tougher.

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